|Naval history of Great Britain
||Ĉolus and Didon
the larboard tack, with her head about north-east by east, for the purpose apparently of watching their movements. These vessels, with a frigate or two not then in company, were really the French squadron from Rochefort, so particularly adverted to by the orders under which Lord William had been detached from the Channel fleet. " If ; " says Admiral Cornwallis, " you should fall in with a squadron of the enemy's ships, continue, if possible, in sight until you can ascertain their route, and then push on before them to make it known to me, or the officer commanding on that station, to which they seem to point their course. "
At 10 A.M. the French squadron, which appears to have been lying to, was joined by a frigate and a brig from to-leeward. At 3 h. 30 m. P.M., being then distant from the Æolus about 12 miles in nearly the same direction as when first discovered, the French squadron bore up and steered east-south-east. At 5 P.M. the Æolus still with her head to the northeast, lost sight of the French squadron. Shortly afterwards the frigate bore away to south ; but at 6 h. 40 m. hauled up on the starboard tack, and made all sail in search of the vice-admiral.
On the 7th, in the forenoon, the Æolus brought to an American ship from Bordeaux to Charlestown, and learnt that, two days before, she had been boarded, off Cape Prior, by the British 74-gun ship Dragon, Captain Edward Griffith, cruising in company with eight other sail of the line. As this was undoubtedly the squadron of Vice-admiral Sir Robert Calder, the Æolus, then only 38 leagues distant from Ferrol, crowded sail in the direction of that port.
At 4 P.M., latitude at noon 43° 41' north, longitude 10° 11` west, being close hauled on the larboard tack with a light breeze from the north-north-east, the Æolus discovered and chased a strange sail in the south quarter, standing under easy sail to the north-west. This was the French 40-gun frigate Didon, Captain Pierre-Bernard Milius, two days from Corunna, in search of the squadron from Rochefort under Rear-admiral Allemand, for whom she had important despatches. * At 4 h. 30 m. P.M. the Didon tacked towards the Æolus but shortly afterwards, on ascertaining that the latter had no connexion with M. Allemand's squadron, the French frigate bore up south-west. The Æolus bore up also, and continued in chase until 7 h. 30 m. P.M. : when, having approached near enough to discover that the ship was an enemy's frigate, " with yellow sides, and royal yards rigged aloft, " the Æolus shortened sail and hauled to the wind on the starboard tack : that is, while the French frigate continued running from the British frigate in the direction of south-west the British frigate altered her course from south by west to north-west by west. These diverging courses soon
* See P. 16.
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